BAFANA Bafana have rejected any early bonuses in the Africa Cup of Nations, with the players stating they will only look to get paid extra if they qualify for the quarterfinals.
This is unusual for the national team as players often hold the football federation to ransom on the issue of bonuses before major tournaments. The 2010 World Cup was no different, likewise the Confederations Cup the year before when players demanded heavy payouts for merely participating in the two competitions, which they had not even qualified for.
Bafana are yet again hosts, this time of the continental showpiece, which kicks off on Saturday and ends on February 10.
Yesterday, minutes before Bafana's evening training session at Orlando Stadium, coach Gordon Igesund revealed that the players had refused to accept incentives for all three of their Group A matches.
"They said they don't want to get paid for the first game and they don't want to get paid for the second game as well. Even if they win these matches," Igesund said.
"They said: 'Let us qualify for the next round [quarterfinals] first' and then maybe they can get something."
This shows great determination for a team that has been suffering from heavy criticism following a winless streak in their previous two friendly matches – against Norway (1-0 defeat) and Algeria (0-0 draw).
Igesund said it was a big boost going into the event. "Bafana play their opening match against Cape Verde at the National Stadium on Saturday, without the distraction of bonuses."
This week reports suggested that Bafana players would be paid R1-million each if they were to go all the way to the final and win the tournament on home soil. However, Igesund did not confirm how much the players stand to make if they are indeed crowned African champions.
"This is probably a first in the history of the national team to hear players saying they do not want to get paid for a game," Igesund said.
Bafana will then face Angola and Morocco in Durban at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in other Group A matches.